Winter is coming, and with it comes a slew of sleet, slush, and snow. Icy walkways and frozen driveways become frigid work zones. If the snow is wet, dense, and sticky; you can roll snow into giant snowballs. But as you age the chore of snow removal becomes a hazard that can land you in the hospital. Unless the neighbors have willing teenagers, the frosty job becomes a debate: which is safer to shovel or to use a snow blower.
Shoveling snow requires intense exertion in cold temperatures. Annually, snow shoveling is the cause of 100 deaths and 11,500 injuries in the United States. The danger from slipping on ice, hypothermia from freezing temperatures, ice burns from exposure, and muscle strain from heavy lifting jeopardize your health. To prevent back strain and spasms, do 10 minutes of light exercise in the house before shoveling. To reduce strain on your back, select a snow shovel that limits the weight lifted and has a small, lightweight plastic blade. Spray the blade with Snow Jet nonstick polymer spray to prevent snow sticking.
The exertion from lifting heavy snow can trigger a heart attack or stroke, especially in colder weather. Arteries constrict which drives up blood pressure. When part of the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood flow, heart attacks can occur. To prevent overexertion, divide the work into smaller segments and take breaks rather than powering through the entire job. Should you feel any signs of a heart attack (chest pain, trouble breathing, pain that radiates down the arm or neck), stop working and seek medical care right away. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, consider hiring a neighborhood kid or Snow Removal Company to shovel the driveway for you.
Extreme cold can irritate the lungs and affect your breathing. Cold, dry air can cause the upper airway to narrow, making it more difficult to breathe, especially for those with conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). When shoveling, if you have trouble breathing, tightness in your chest, wheezing, or start to cough head indoors to rest for at least 30 minutes. Warm the air while shoveling by covering your nose and mouth with a scarf or gaiter.
Frostbite can affect any part of your body, but the extremities are affected first. Frostbite can occur in 15 minutes or less at wind chill values of 18 below zero or lower but can begin at any temperature under 31 degrees Fahrenheit. When exposed to extreme cold, blood circulation moves away from extremities toward the body core, so the internal organs and brain keep the body functioning. Limited blood flow to the skin and extremities like fingers, hands, toes, feet, nose, ears, etc., causes ice crystals to form and results in frozen tissue. Get out of the cold if you notice pain or redness on the skin. Dress in layers with maximum coverage to limit exposed areas using a garment like the Forester Safety Green Hi-Vis Insulated Bomber Jacket.
Dehydration is a health condition that can sneak up on you in cold weather. People generally feel less thirsty in the cold and the body is least hydrated in the morning. Dehydration can impair your body’s ability to regulate heat and can put more stress on your heart. Often, snow shoveling is a morning chore before starting the day. The physical effort of shoveling tends to generate sweat. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, among others. To combat the condition, drink a large glass of water or Gatorade about 30 minutes before tackling the driveway and take regular breaks to rehydrate.
Avoid cotton, as it doesn’t wick away sweat, and lacks the insulation to keep you warm. Make sure you cover your head, hands, and feet properly with a hat, gloves, and thick socks. On your feet, wear boots with slip-resistant soles to ensure you remain upright, even in icy conditions.
Shoveling has the advantage of maneuverability to remove snow around any parked cars in your driveway without moving the cars. Always clean off the cars before starting to clear the driveway. In a storm, shovel snow as it lands on the driveway as often as once every hour during heavy snowfall for faster and safer removal. The best shovel has an S-shaped shaft to prevent bending and straining the back and a small plastic non-stick blade to restrict the weight lifted. For depths less than 2 inches, try a push broom.
The right way to shovel helps minimize potential health risks. The best way to shovel is to bend at the knees, keep the blade as close as possible to the body, and push up with the legs when you lift. Lifting with the legs, instead of the upper body or back, reduces strain to the back muscles. Prevent overreaching to protect arms and upper back. Choking up on the shovel creates a safer, more stable grip. Avoid the dangers of lifting and throwing shovels of heavy snow and consider a shovel that pushes snow.
For depths deeper than 2 inches, a snow blower will be effective. Having the suitable machine can mean the difference between being self-sufficient and relying on others to remove snow. When using a snowblower, you will certainly have to move parked cars. Also, consider that you have less control over where the snow is deposited. You must change your angle so that the snow is blown either to the left or right, so you must plan the route to prevent recovering the areas cleared. Additionally, the strength of the wind will encumber snow removal.
Single-stage snow blowers are designed to come in direct contact with pavement. Follow snow blower manufacturer recommendations for fuel, maintenance, and summer storage. Always drain the fuel tank at the end of the season with a siphon. When two inches of snow are on the ground, the snow blower needs a moderate speed to maximize throwing arc. Too slow and the throwing distance will be short, too fast and the snow spills out of the machine’s sides giving poor coverage. To minimize your steps, start in the center of the driveway and blow the snow to the right. As you reach the end of the driveway, make a U-turn, and come back the opposite side. This will prevent recovering the cleared areas.
Gravel driveways run the risk of sucking up rocks and throwing them at cars, windows, and other people. Two-stage snow blowers allow the height of the blades to be adjusted so that the blower does not encounter the ground. The downside is that the ground has a film of snow and ice which will need treatment with ice melt and sand to provide traction.
Wet snow requires slower movement by the snow blower. Moving too quickly will clog the machine and cause the motor to break down. The best practice is to take half the width of the machine with each pass. When clearing asphalt driveways, keep the blades at least a half inch off the surface to prevent chipping. Pantano Nursery and Landscape Supply sells and services Ariens snow blowers and Husqvarna snow blowers.
Ariens snow blowers are family owned since 1933. Features two stage snow blowers with commercial power. Ariens folds for storage and has a manufactured engine with steel-walled housing that will get through any snow. All Ariens® professional snow blower models are built with non-recycled steel. All snow blowers have handlebars, housings, chutes, etc., but the designs have a lot of variation between brands. For example, handlebar geometry – turning under heavy snow loads applies stress to the handlebars, which is why Ariens updated its professional models to have stronger, welded handlebars with thicker steel – an upgrade from the tube designs on residential models.
An engine’s displacement is the distance its pistons travel through an engine cylinder (the stroke), multiplied by the diameter of the cylinder (the bore). The longer the stroke and the larger the bore, the greater the displacement and the greater the power of a snow blower engine. All Ariens professional snow blower models feature 420 CC engines, enough power to move up to 102 tons of snow per hour and throw snow dozens of feet away. Ariens has a hydrostatic drive that can speed up or slow down without stopping and shifting. Electronic fuel injection uses a computer that calculates an optimal fuel and air mixture that makes the engine start more easily on the first pull. Ariens has RapidTrak which allows for extra maneuverability, extra traction, or extra scraping ability to accommodate flat surfaces and steep hills. For hard-packed snow, dig-in mode pitches the auger housing downward for more effective scraping.
Designed to last decades, Pantano carries parts and services all Ariens snow blowers.
Husqvarna, the brand is synonymous with high-quality power tools, features a series of powerful snow blowers designed for residential and professional use. Husqvarna ST224 is a dual stage snow blowers developed for residential use. The machine addresses homeowners who need a high-performing unit to clear heavy snow from wide areas, and it comes with the adjustable skid shoes for use on all types of surfaces. The Husqvarna has a two-stage system and high throwing capacity with adjustable height handle, heated handle grips, convenient LED headlights, a remote-controlled chute, and an electric starter for an easy start in all weather conditions. The unit’s stability is ensured by heavy-duty 15-inch tires, and it is easy to handle. The unit is backed up by a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. The engine has a separate warranty of 5 years.
For commercial use the ST227P is a professional snow blower designed for heavy-duty use. Powered by a 254cc Husqvarna 4-stroke engine, the unit can remove snow from the driveways in a breeze. It has a clearing width of 27 inches, and it can deal with snow accumulations up to 12 inches. The 2.7-liter fuel tank will keep the unit up and running for a long time. The unit has an electric start button. Moreover, the trigger-controlled power steering ensures an incredible maneuverability even in tight spaces. The blower performs on smooth or gravel surfaces. Convenient features such as the heated handle grips, height adjustable handle, the powerful LED headlights, and the friction disc transmission complete features. The unit comes with a remote chute deflector and remote chute rotator, its stability is ensured by 15-inch tires, while the 12-inch ribbon auger lifts snow effortlessly to mix it with air for easier clearing. Husqvarna offers a 3-year bumper to bumper warranty.
For more information contact Pantano nursery and landscape supply at 143 County Road 522 Manalapan, NJ 07726 PH: (732) 786-8503 https://www.pantanonursery.com/wholesale-perennials/